Calm Before the Storm

Here we go. The Holidays are upon us. I’ll be busy in the coming weeks wrapping up projects including the 2012 Mercury Racing Wall Calendars (shipments are set for next week), finalizing 2012 marketing plans and attending to other unfinished business.

Enjoying some time with work associates and friends in Key West. (L-R: Fred Kiekhaefer, Jeff Krueger, Larry Goldman, Gino Gargiulo, Erik Christiansen and me). Photo taken by our dear friend Marilyn DeMartini.

For me, the Holidays are the calm before the storm. I try to enjoy time with family and friends. One of my favorite parts of this time of year is catching up with dealers, boat builders, racers and consumers. I’m thankful for the many wonderful people I’ve met and become friends with over the years.

Kevin Skiba selling at the 2007 Los Angeles Boat Show. Photo credit: Bob Brown - Media Direction.

This is also my busiest and most stressful time of year. For over 20 years, the months of December and January are etched in my brain as “boat show prep time.”  The Miami Int’l Boat Show is our a largest show. It serves us well in terms of connecting with our customers from around the globe. The Los Angeles show enables us to connect with our West Coast customers. Read more

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Fred’s Key West Adventure!

John Rosatti and crew as we prepare to depart Miami. (Photo courtesy of Intercept Boats.)

What started as a spectacular week in the Florida keys was clouded by tragedy: the deaths of Bob Morgan, Jeff Tillman and Joey Gratton because of individual boat blow-overs while racing in SBI’s Key West World Championships. Very sad and they will be missed. Heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these gentlemen from all of us at Mercury Racing.

It is a beautiful day. With a full load of fuel aboard, we made way at 118 mph in the 50 foot Cigarette Marauder.

In contrast, the Florida Powerboat Club poker run from Miami to Key West was both safe and fun! Stu Jones’ event attracted over 175 entrants with more than 160 boats making the trek in four waves; one each day, Tuesday through Friday. I had the opportunity to meet many new friends and catch up with some I haven’t seen for a while. Read more

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Destination: Key West

Artwork featured on the official Mercury Racing event T-shirt.

I’m excited about our title sponsorship of this week’s Key West Poker Run. Over 160 boats are registered for the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) event. The poker run features four flights of  boats running from Miami to Key West. Departures begin Tuesday and run through Friday.  This year is proving to be one of the largest turnouts ever.

By Truck:

The Mercury Racing mobile marketing truck is packed with exciting product displays.

Dave Vhers (see On The Road Again) left Fond du Lac Saturday for Key West in the Mercury Racing mobile marketing truck. The truck will be set-up in the Poker Run Village with exciting product displays including a  1100 sterndrive, a 525 EFI with the Stage 1 X-haust Noise Reducer system and a Mercury Racing Propeller/Accessories display. We will debut our new Power & Propulsion full-line product catalog at the event as well. Poker run participants will receive a variety Mercury Racing branded items in the official event “goody bag.”  Read more

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Fort Lauderdale 2011

Nor-Tech’s custom paint looks great on Mercury 300 Verados.
Cigarette’s new 39 Top Gun Open: great seating all over the boat.

Fort Lauderdale boat show: where to start? First, I spent more time in conversations than taking pictures.

My friend and 1350 customer, Derek Wachob (Black “Z48 Corvette” MTI), was on the performance dock when I arrived. Pier 57’s David Woods was working the Cigarette display. PR maven, Marilyn DeMartini, had Skip Braver engaged in a video interview with Wealth Magazine aboard Cigarette’s new, 39 center console fishing boat.

Cigarette’s European dealer, Marcel, always the gentleman, was politely grilling me about 1350 emissions and noise. “When may I have [QC4v] for the European Union market?” Easy questions; difficult answers: “It is difficult meeting low CO emissions of the European Recreational Craft Directive…blah, blah… But we’re working…blah, blah…” Seriously, we are working to comply with the EU RCD with the QC4v platform, but that’s all I will say for now.

Center consoles seemed to appear everywhere. The trend looks more intended for catching a good time than a big fish. Susan Patterson was eager to show off her new 44 Concept center console fish boat. Concept had (arguably) the most fishable of the new center consoles.

Beautiful detail and lounging comfort aboard a Nor-Tech center console (I can’t bring myself to say “fish boat!”)

While both Cigarette and Concept center consoles’ lounge areas were comfortable, none had more relaxing ones than Trond Schou’s new Nor-Tech. With a 10 foot beam, the foredeck lounge area can accommodate two people taking a nap — and seven people watching them sleep.

Sunsation upped the “dazzle factor” with detail-painted pulleys and even trim pumps on 700 SCi that were already custom colored in “Devil Red” from Mercury Racing.

Sunsation’s new 36 vee bottom displayed one of the most beautifully detailed engine rooms – brimming with twin 700 SCi power — whether the hatch was open or closed (through plexiglas hatch ports).

It was a good, fun boat show! Then the sky opened for two days.

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